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Old 15th September 2021, 06:39 AM   #16
Jim McDougall
Arms Historian
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 8,629

I'm surely no expert on these Capn, but thank you! I do clearly have a passion for them, and though I have tried to study them for many years, their history is complex and elusive.

In reading through resources trying to get 'up to speed' here, I wanted to address some of the comments thus far.

It is known that only some 190 swords were recovered from the field at Culloden, but over 1800 men were killed, of over 6000 troops. In the aftermath, there were paltry numbers of swords surrendered, 25 here, 50 there. Scholars insist the numbers of swords recorded were relatively few compared to muskets.
However, some insights into the battle are found in "How the Scots Invented the Modern World", A.Herman ,2001:
paraphrasing the author, ' the clans maddened by the shelling, could no longer be held back and charged like wildcats into the British lines...most came too fast to use the muskets they were thier bloodlust they threw their firearms away'.

'..the Scots hacked at muskets with such maniacal fury that down the line men could hear the clang of swprd on barrel'.

"...clansmen blindly hacking and thrusting as choking smoke closed around them....dreadful to see swords circling in the air as they were raised from strokes'.

Clearly, while many writers presume from records that the numbers of muskets known to have been with the Jacobite forces, that these were the predominant arm......the Scots would not have simply carried a musket....without their faithful basket hilts.
As seen here, in the fury of battle, they deferred to their distinct weapon, the sword.......'and threw muskets away'.

So what then became of the probably considerable number of swords of the fallen. Many of these men were of closely related clans, and these swords were inherently sacred, so in my opinion, many of these were taken by thier relatives and among those who fled the field.

Then as noted by the author, (p.150),
"..warriors hid their swords and targes in the heath, hoping that they or their children would remember where they had buried them'.

In most cases, these were removed to more favorable hiding places.
The 'disarming act' of that year proscribed not only the weapons, but Highland dress, even bagpipes.....for generations, over 50 years.

Only in the British regiments were swords permitted, and these, as Mark has described, were often produced in the garrison towns, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Stirling, and the decoration in the basket hilts became rudimentary, many hilts becoming 'munition grade'.

With the wonderfully roughly done decoration in this example of Mark's, it seems to be of Glasgow form, but not of the munitions grade forms of post noting that Glasgow and Stirling still produced worthy hilts for British cavalry officers in the Highland dragoon regiments.

The first Jacobite rebellions began in 1689, with uprisings in 1715 and 1719, and while Glasgow became a primary garrison town in these times, there were hammermen in the environs who would fashion thier own versions of these well known hilts. These men were of course outside the records of established hammermen.

In an earlier post, it was asked whether any Scots produced blades. In the writing of Charles Whitelaw (1934), the venerable sage of the study of Scottish arms, I found two cases which he thought were NOT imported blades.

These were (p.309, plate IV#4; plate V, #2,#3)
Both were basket hilts by W. Allen (Walter Allen of Glasgow, later Stirling).
He suggested these blades were by Allen, and not imported.
Both blades were with the favored ANDREA FERARA name, which was of course typically on the German imports, so it is curious how he arrived at this conclusion, but is noted here regarding the possibility of Scottish blade production.
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